Autistic Bega man to run across Australia

BEGA’S Dane Waites has big plans for 2015 – and he has plenty of support in his wings.

Around 30 people attended the “Dane’s plan takes off” meeting at Workability, Bega, last week.

There was an underlying aeroplane theme at the event, with Dane dubbed “the captain” of his plan.

Dane, who has autism, was joined by some of his closest friends and family at “The Hangar” (Workability meeting room).

The group compiled an extensive plan of achievements for Dane to achieve, and everyone wrote messages of support.

Dane turns 40 in 2014 and he is looking to celebrate in style.

Among his goals are moving houses and a marathon run across Australia.

This week, Dane will be moving from Bega to Tura Beach.

The focus then shifts to his long-term goal – running from Perth to Pambula to raise money and awareness of autism.

Workability representative Peter Harvey said Dane has good credentials in running.

In 2003, Dane won a bronze medal in a half-marathon race at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Dublin, Ireland.

He was also part of a team that carried the Olympic torch at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

“Dane has autism, but he has made a wonderful life for himself,” Mr Harvey said.

“We are looking at the Bega Valley community for support.

“A committee for Dane’s run will be formed, with more details to follow.”

Dane’s mum Junee Waites was thrilled to see so many people supporting her son.

Ms Waites, a Workability patron and local author, was last year named a Living Life My Way ambassador.

Living Life My Way is a NSW Government program to deliver person-centred support and individualised funding arrangements for people with disabilities (BDN, 9/4/13).

Ms Waites thanked local residents for supporting Dane, singling out praise for 2014 Bega Valley Shire Citizen of the Year Ryan Campbell.

“Ryan has backed Dane with some sponsorship – I think that’s a nice thing for locals to hear,” she said.

Ms Waites said Dane will be turning to Australian ultra-marathon athlete Pat Farmer for support.

Mr Farmer is best known for completing a run from the North Pole to South Pole in 2013 to raise funds for Red Cross.

“Dane will see Pat Farmer in March, who will guide him through the process,” Ms Waites said.

“Dane will do the run in September or early 2015.”

A beaming Dane said he was happy with last week’s meeting and excited about the next 12 months.

“I thank my family and friends [for coming],” he said.

“It was a great day at The Hangar!”

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